Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan
  • Leaving LA

    August 6, 2010. Today they’re going to be shooting a scene for “The Closer” on our street. They’ve put up the NO PARKING, 7AM to 11PM signs on both sides of Gramercy Place, and for two blocks on each side of it on Hollywood Boulevard. The notice we got says they will be shooting driving scenes, and that there will be cameras and equipment on property, sidewalk, and curb lane. Interior and ... Read more »

  • Dog Pound to the Stars

    Sid Grauman built the Chinese Theater, his third Los Angeles movie palace (after the Million Dollar in 1918 and the Egyptian in 1922), in 1926. The Million Dollar degenerated over the years and is only now coming back as a venue for Spanish theater. The Egyptian had been closed for years and had holes in the roof before a cinema society bought it for a dollar and committed to restore it. So ... Read more »

  • The Alex

    I seldom buy Los Angeles magazine. If you’re seeking a place where you can pay $100 for a plate of sushi, this slick mag rag is where to start looking. Or if you’re shopping for a $150,000 Patek Philippe wristwatch, you can’t go wrong in the pages of LAMag. (I have a question for anybody who might know something about $150,000 wristwatches. How can people tell it’s worth that much, and not ... Read more »

  • Ex-Spector-ated!!!!

    Phil Spector mugshot Finally, finally, a Los Angeles jury has done something right in a celebrity trial. About an hour ago as I write this, six men and six women did what few LA juries have been able to do in recent years. They ignored the idiotic arguments of highly-paid hired gun lawyers getting millions of dollars working for the defense, and used their common sense, something two jurors ... Read more »

  • The Descanso Gardens

    Easter Sunday, and it felt like a sin to try to work. It was 70 degrees outside, the sun was shining, the sky was blue as an Easter egg. So I picked the lock on the shackles chaining me to the computer (I’m past deadline on my newest book), grabbed Lee, and we jumped in the car and set out for the Descanso Gardens, in La Cañada/Flintridge, about 15 miles from our home. I punched in the ... Read more »

  • The Miracles Get a STAR

    When: Friday, March 20, 2009 at 11:30 a.m. Location: Corner of Hollywood Boulevard and El Cerrito Place One thing I can say about the Motown acts is that we were a family. That’s not a myth. ~Smokey Robinson It was the 50th anniversary of Motown (actually it was founded on January 12, 1959, but let’s not nitpick) and The Miracles were getting their collective star on Hollywood ... Read more »

  • George Harrison Gets a STAR

    When: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 11:30 a.m. Location: In front of Capital Records on Vine The biggest break in my career was getting into the Beatles in 1962. The second biggest break since then is getting out of them. ~George Harrison We figured the crowds might be rather large for this one, so we resolved to get an early start. We set out at about 10:40 for a ceremony scheduled to start, ... Read more »

  • The BCAM at the LACMA

    If the above acronym soup is confusing to you, let me translate: BCAM is the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, and LACMA is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (We Angelenos say it as “The Bee-cam at the Lackma.”) BCAM is a new building at LACMA, the first part of a three-phase expansion plan. It opened in February. Crowds were large and tickets hard to get, so we waited about a month, and ... Read more »

  • Jules Verne in the Last Remaining Seats

    Awhile back we had an eventful 10 days. First, we joined the Los Angeles Conservancy, an organization dedicated to saving what scraps of history remain in this town after the developers have been tearing stuff down for 50 years. It’s too late for the historic Ambassador Hotel, as seen in The Graduate and almost 100 other movies, the place where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by that little ... Read more »

  • Suzanne Pleshette Gets a STAR

    When: Tuesday, January 31, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 6751 Hollywood Boulevard I don’t sit around and wait for great parts. I’m an actress, and I love being one, and I’ll probably be doing it till I’m 72, standing around the back lot doing “Gunsmoke” (1955). ~Suzanne Pleshette The third Hollywood Boulevard Star Ceremony of 2008 was a sad one, like the first, which ... Read more »

  • The Ides of March in Hollyweird

    Ron Kovic The day begins with a walk from our apartment to the corner of Hollywood and Vine, where the usual suspects are assembling for yet another futile anti-war march. I’m sorry, I just can’t get enthused anymore, we’ve been to too many of them, and it’s the same faces, the same several thousand people. (Okay, this time there was a pretty lively group of Clowns for Peace, and Ron Kovic ... Read more »

  • St. Pat’s Day at the Egyptian with the Rutles

    They had the 30th reunion of the Rutles at the Egyptian Theater on St. Patrick’s Day. All four of the lads from Liverpool, together again for the first time. You remember the Rutles, don’t you? The Pre-Fab Four? Dirk McQuickly, Barry Wom, Stig O’Hara, and Ron Nasty? Ring any bells? The legend that will last a lunchtime? You must have seen their great films A Hard Day’s Rut, Ouch!, The ... Read more »

  • Angela Bassett Gets a STAR

    When: Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, near Orange Do you ever have one of those days? I woke up and the sun wasn’t really shining but then it burst through the clouds and it was glorious. Hallelujah! ~Angela Bassett I didn’t know if it was worth our time to attend the Walk of Fame star ceremony for Angela Bassett. After all, we’d seen her at ... Read more »

  • Hillside Cemetery

    It’s been a while since we went on a celebrity body hunt, so when other business called us down to the lower reaches of Culver City, we decided to visit this graveyard, which is rich in famous bones. It’s also a Jewish cemetery, like Mount Sinai, which always affords a few surprises. Several times in our quest we will look at each other and say “I didn’t know he/she was Jewish!” Hillside is ... Read more »

  • Rudolph Valentino

    August 23 was the 81st anniversary of the death of Rudolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Piero Filibert Guglielmi De Valentina D’Antonguolla, in New York City, of peritonitis following a perforated ulcer. We know him as Rudolph Valentino. (I’ve found two different versions of that gigantic name, and I’m going with the longest one.) Every year since 1926 his fans (and now their descendants) have converged ... Read more »

  • A Hallowood Hollyween

    We had a lot of fun last Halloween at the West Hollywood street party, which happens on about mile of Santa Monica Boulevard and features some of the wildest costumes you’ll ever see, some by make-up professionals, many by WH’s vast gay community. Last year we arrived quite early, when nothing much was happening, and stuck around for a few hours. I recall it took us a while, but we eventually ... Read more »

  • Donald Trump Gets a STAR

    When: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: in front of the Hollywood & Highland center. It really has been a special moment in my life. ~Donald Trump I doubt we’d have bothered with The Donald, except you never know who else is going to show up. Neither Lee nor I are fans of him or his show. But we did go, and got to see Jay Leno and Larry King. And here’s a good place to ... Read more »

  • Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara Get a STAR

    When: Friday, February 9, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 7018 Hollywood Blvd, west of Orange Drive. Stiller and Meara were the fourth married couple to receive a joint star on the Walk of Fame, after Sonny and Cher, television’s Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, and radio’s Fibber McGee and Molly (Jim and Marian Jordan), according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the ... Read more »

  • Dick Wolf Gets a STAR

    When: Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 7040 Hollywood Blvd, west of Orange Drive. Comment: Wolf’s least favorite of more than 350 episodes, up to this point, is the one in which the daughter of Det. Lennie Briscoe (played by Jerry Orbach) gets killed by a drug dealer. “It was exactly what the show wasn’t, but Jerry has pled for years, ‘Please let someone die in my ... Read more »

  • Halle Berry Gets a STAR

    When: Tuesday, April 3, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, near Highland. I want to officially state that I am an emotional retard. I am so emotional … as soon as I saw the crowds of people and friends here, I started to cry. ~Halle Berry This was the first ceremony we watched from overhead, on a balcony at the Hollywood/Highland Center. That’s partly because the crowds ... Read more »

  • James Bacon Gets a STAR

    When: Friday, April 6, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 1637 Vine Street, south of Hollywood Blvd. She was drinking champagne and straight vodka and occasionally popping a pill, … I said, “Marilyn, the combination of pills and alcohol will kill you.” And she said, “It hasn’t killed me yet.” Then she took another drink and popped another pill. I know at night she took barbiturates. ... Read more »

  • Forest Whitaker Gets a STAR

    When: Monday, April 16, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, near Highland. I remember as a kid coming to the Walk of Fame. It was like a field trip and very exciting to us…. [The star represents] where I came from, and where I am going and hopefully where I am at right now. ~Forest Whitaker Angela Bassett introduced the big guy, but this one was mostly about family. He seemed to ... Read more »

  • Jon Peters Gets a STAR

    When: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, near Orange Drive. This is kind of embarrassing but I am proud to be here…. I started my career when I was 8 and recently kicked out of elementary school. … It’s been an amazing journey. Thank you. ~Jon Peters How do you go from being a hairdresser to running Sony Pictures Studio (badly, according to many)? ... Read more »

  • Hamlet in the Cemetery

    A few miles from our apartment is the coolest cemetery in America, maybe in the whole world: Hollywood Forever. They have an annual Halloween party at dusk, when they show scary movies on the side of a mausoleum. People come in costume. We haven’t been to that yet (though we’re planning to), but this summer they’ve started something new: Shakespeare in the Cemetery. The first production was ... Read more »

  • Michelle Pfeiffer Gets a STAR

    When: Monday, August 6, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. Location: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, near Highland. [My mother] taught me that I could do anything and that I should have a career before I get married. [My father] taught me that you can make something of yourself if you work hard. ~Michelle Pfeiffer We shoulda brought the ladder. Once more, a huge crowd, and Lee wasn’t able to get any pictures. So ... Read more »

  • A Hollyweird Day of the Dead

    Dia de los Muertos is a very big deal in Mexico. People gather in graveyards to honor the dead and celebrate life, and also feast and dance and just generally have fun. The origins of the celebration date back to pre-colonial days, to the Aztecs and other tribes that were there before the white man arrived with his Christianity. The marigold is the traditional flower, and skulls made of ... Read more »

  • Our Hollyweird Christmas

    Los Angeles has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the United States. I’ve heard that classes in the school system are taught in over 80 different languages. The huge majority of the ESL people speak Spanish, and come from one of the nations south of the Rio Grande. But there are large groups of other ethnic backgrounds, too, many of them not Christian, or only partly so. ... Read more »

  • Hollywood Diary – Part 1

    Before the move we were in Oregon for Xmas. During the move we were exhausted. After the move we were busy running all over town finding things we needed for the new place. And after that … well, I have to write a novel this year. Upshot: I haven’t had a lot of time for writing rants and reviews and news of our life. But we have found the time to do some interesting things. In ... Read more »

  • Hollywood Diary – Part 2

    “Another day” turned out to be only two days later. When Lee read about all the places I’d gone and the things I’d seen, nothing would do but we re-trace my steps so she could snap a lot of pics to go with this diary entry. The Metro: Part Two So … back to the Hollywood & Highland Center and on to Universal City. Again, it seemed pretty dead. Off season, ... Read more »

  • John Varley Picks Up An OSCAR

    … Well, I said I picked it up, I didn’t say I won it. Lee took these pictures at the “Oscar Petting Zoo” at the Hollywood & Highland Center, where they had one award you could handle. I bought the sunglasses for the occasion; I already owned the shirt and hat. The Oscar was attached to a chain so you couldn’t make a break for it. There were 50 others, the ... Read more »

  • Vanna White gets a STAR

    Walking down Hollywood Boulevard always makes me a little dizzy. It’s not that I’m overly impressed by the names of the people on the stars in the street—though you can’t help remarking on some of them you particularly like, from time to time (there’s Stan Freberg! and Ray Bradbury! and Crosby, Still, and Nash!). It’s just that I’m a compulsive reader, and no matter how I try not to, I always ... Read more »

  • Nancy Sinatra Gets a STAR

    When: Thursday, May 11, 2006, at 11:30 a.m. Location: 7000 Hollywood Blvd, near Orange. My advice to young women starting out is hang tough, don’t quit — even if it takes 40 years. ~Nancy Sinatra Another rather odd star, like Vanna. She basically had the one hit, and never would have had that if she hadn’t had a famous father. I mean, she’s not that great a singer. And it runs in the ... Read more »

  • Bruce Willis Gets a STAR

    When: Monday, October 16, 2006, at 11:30 a.m. Location: 6915 Hollywood Blvd, west of Highland. I used to come down here and look at these stars and I could never quite figure out what you were supposed to do to get one…. Time has passed and now here I am doing this, and I’m still excited. I’m still excited to be an actor. ~Bruce Willis This one was held in front of Grauman’s, and ... Read more »

  • Annette Bening Gets a STAR

    When: Friday, November 10, 2006, at 11:30 a.m. Location: 6927 Hollywood Boulevard, near Highland. I always wanted a family so when I got to be a grown-up in the movies, I found my husband, and he’s the person I’m the most grateful to, because he makes moments like this take on the proper perspective. I love my work, I love my craft, and I feel that’s a journey I’m ... Read more »

  • The Hood Ornament of Los Angeles

    In Joseph Heller’s masterpiece, Catch-22, a man named Major views the birth of his son as a golden opportunity. He flirts with the idea of naming the newborn C. Sharp Major, or Sergeant Major, or Minor Major, but in the end goes whole hog and names him Major Major Major. Grown to be a man, Major Major Major is drafted, and as soon as the generals in the Pentagon learn his name they ... Read more »

  • A Hollyweird Day

    I’d finished my day’s work early, so we decided to go out to San Gabriel and see the mission again. Last time we were there Lee was still shooting film, and she could take some pictures of one of the more picturesque missions with her new camera. But first there was this place in Hollywood I wanted to see if I could find … Wait a minute, I’d better back up a bit. A few ... Read more »